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Turkey Mulling Space Launch Cooperation With Kazakhstan Out Of Baikonur Cosmodrome

The supermoon is seen behind the Soyuz MS-03 spacecraft set on the launch pad at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on November 14, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / Kirill KUDRYAVTSEV

Kazakhstan has proposed a Memorandum of Understanding and Cooperation with Turkey in order to collaborate on space launch out of the Baikonur Cosmodrome, according to an official from the Aerospace Committee of the Kazakh Ministry of Defence and Aerospace Industry.

“Kazakhstan proposed that Turkish spaceships use launching capacities, as well as that Turkey looks into possibility of implementing joint projects at Baikonur Cosmodrome. The proposal is being reviewed by the Turkish side,” the unnamed official of the committee told Azerbaijani news outlet Trend News Agency.

“Currently the project is being reviewed by Turkish party,” the official said.

The proposed Kazakh offer of cooperation with Turkey comes months after Dmitry Rogozin, the head of the Russian state space corporation Roscosmos, had initiated the idea of Russia, Turkey, and Kazakhstan cooperating on space launch activities out of the Baikonur Cosmodrome.

In November 2018 Turkish aerospace company Rocketsan received a contract from the Turkish government to develop and build the Micro Satellite Launch System (MUFS), which was among the goals named in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s 100-day action plan earlier in 2018.

The MUFS project is supposed to involve the development and testing of the launch vehicle, which is designed to deliver micro satellites weighing 100 kilograms or less in to low-Earth orbit to an altitude of at least 400 kilometres.

According Turkish government announcements at the time, Roketsan is also supposed to build satellite testing and production facilities as well as the launch infrastructure and complex for MUFS.

It is not clear at the time of publication whether the proposed offer of cooperation with Kazakhstan at the Baikonur Cosmodrome is a separate space launch endeavor for Turkey, or whether MUFS is being cancelled or even adapted for launch out of Baikonur.

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